The new barn is beginning to feel like home. The wooden stalls came up golden and bright after decobwebbing and a good power washing. With it’s red cobbled brick floor, a head hanging out over every stall waiting for evening feed in the warm light from the setting sun, the barn looks wonderful. We have made some innovations to save time and keep the barn floors clear. The stalls are relatively small at 10×10 for the most part making haying on the ground a bit of a messy alternative. We tried haynets but haynets are difficult to hang high enough for tall horses, and we have a few of those. In the end we employed a method I had used before (I think I saw it in a magazine) and we hung the haynet in the corner on three spread out screw eyes and double ended snaps. You can adjust depth and width by where you place the screw eyes and where you snap onto the net itself. We now go in and toss the hay into the open net and the horses are cleaning up every scrap with almost no hay being mucked out.
We are waiting on our new feed buckets. I ordered feed bins that are small and deep and don’t stick out into the stall any farther than a bucket. Of course they had to be special ordered from Ohio, they couldn’t possibly be local! We are still awaiting their arrival and have been promised them for Monday. Again… three screw eyes for each, I feel like I need shares in the screw eyes and double ended snaps business.
One of the things we are really missing is all the wonderful equipment and machinery at Hawkridge. Thus I am now the proud owner of a tool room which is rapidly filling with tools. I now have a really cute little chain saw, an air compresser, a drill and I know where to rent and how to run a hydraulic augur. I never thought I would be on first name terms with the staff from the ‘tools’ section at Canadian Tire. Words like ‘drill bit’ and ‘grease gun’ roll smoothly off my lips.
We never made it to the OHTA awards dinner. We had tickets and good intentions, but at that time the moving was only half done and the long days took their toll. Neither Selena nor myself felt able to do the drive to Toronto and back. I hear we missed a good party.
Colombo and Solo are back in work. I am walking them both, a task I thoroughly enjoy. Colombo is a fun horse whether he is fit or not. He is always perky and enthusiastic to do whatever the day brings. He loves his new stall where he can hang his head out all the time, and he spends a large part of his day ‘hanging out’ and organizing everything he can see and some he can’t. He seems very happy as do all our inhabitants, no anxious faces in the aisle.
Selena’s newest mount is John Rumble’s ‘Foxwood High’ whose present rider is now at school and cannot take him to Florida to do a winter season. As a result, Selena was lucky enough to be asked to ride him. He is a lovely horse and we have both been enjoying riding him and getting him fit and ready to compete. He is absolutely huge and must be close to eighteen hands, however he doesn’t feel like it to ride, he is comfortable and has a great attitude. I am looking forward to seeing him in action in Florida this winter.
Two more Canadians, Jackie Bradshaw and Kelly List are joining us in our Florida base this Winter. It’s going to be SO much fun, if I wasn’t enjoying my new barn so much, I would be very jealous. The trip to Florida looms large on the horizon. It’s only a matter of a few weeks and the first horses will be on their way South. Originally we were thinking mid-January to mid-March this year, but it’s already looking like early January (weather permitting) to early April. With our Florida barn full to capacity, it’s going to be a very busy season and if everyone is going to get to enough competitions to make the trip down South worthwhile, our season is going to have to start early and finish late. We bought a four horse trailer a couple of years ago, I wish I had bought a six horse!
In addition to bringing the competition horses and our young horses into work, we have some gorgeous sales horses. They are really quite spectacular and include horses that are winning and placing at the one star level and are more than ready to upgrade to Intermediate. I hope these will sell to new riders and that we will see them out on the circuit next year. Some of our former sales horses are creeping up the grades and it’s fun to see them out and about with their owners. We heard that Rowdy Adams who bought ‘Hector’ is going to train with David O’Connor this winter. We are hoping that means we will see lots more of her and Hector.
I have been here for three weeks and I still haven’t been around the fields at the back of the property. It’s been so hectic herre, I have not managed to get to the sight seeing stage. I am looking forward to riding round the fields when the time comes.